Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cassidy Continues His Attack On City Workers; Adds Police

By Steven Tavares

San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy campaigned on changing the way city employees financed their own pensions and health benefits, but instead he may be angling to push for further cuts to its already sparse workforce.

Cassidy also make pointed remarks towards the validity of the city staff presentation and questioned the police department’s exploits in reducing crime, while unable to stymie a rise in burglaries.

“Are there certain jobs and positions that can be eliminated and consolidated in a way that we could still provide services that we do now?” asked Cassidy during Monday’s work session on next year’s fiscal budget.

“In my State of the City speech , part of it, as it was originally written, was to praise the work of the police department and they certainly deserve praise in reducing the total of crime by 25 percent, however, burglaries are up,” said Cassidy. “If you go to talk to people in the neighborhoods people won’t tell you that they feel a lot safer in San Leadnro because the burglaries uniquely effect them and they hear about, so we can say, ‘you should feel safer, crime is down,’ but that’s not their experience. So, I think just for us to be honest as policymakers in our presentations, we need to give both sides of the story sometimes. I think if there is other sides of the story, we need to hear that too because the underlining message we’re getting here is that we’ve been cut to the bone, don’t look to any further cuts to staff, preserve the status quo.”

The mayor’s comments on police, which some in law enforcement took as a slight, mirror past statement’s by Cassidy questioning its performance while seeking ways to cut fat from the department’s operating budget. Public safety routinely garners over two-thirds of the city budget. The rising tensions between the department, its union and Cassidy led Sgt. Mike Sobek, president of the San Leandro police officers association to call then-mayoral candidate last fall, “no friend of the POA.”

Sources tell The Citizen, Cassidy’s surrogates have recently made inquiries into the police department budget in an attempt to make cuts. A few associated with local city politics view Cassidy’s comments Monday night as evidence of the mayor’s inability to build coalitions. Cassidy and the new San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli were sworn-in within days of each other last January, but love between the mayor’s and chief’s office may be in serious jeopardy.

It is believed part of Cassidy’s ambivalence towards the police department comes from community leader Tim Holmes, who is known by many to have the new mayor’s ear. He also ran Cassidy's mayoral campaign last fall. The San Leandro businessman has tussled with the department in the past while claiming officers were instructed to boycott his coffee shop and failing to patrol the areas surrounding his business during an elementary school function near Bancroft Avenue last year. Through a covert Facebook gossip page, Holmes has also charged the new police chief with coercing officers to testify medical marijuana dispensaries would increase crime in San Leandro.

Cassidy attempted to dig up a familiar stereotype of the complacent government worker when he criticized a staff report assigning blame for low response times on a loss of employees. In the past two years, nearly 40 percent of city staff has been eliminated to facilitate budget deficits up to $7 million. Although, preliminary multi-million dollar budget shortfalls in nearby Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland and Fremont are expected, Cassidy said next year’s budget will be balanced for the next two years. Nevertheless, Cassidy again exuded a lack in trust in city staff that has been the hallmark of his short time in office.

“Everything in that [report] was, ‘well, we’ve lost staff and the response time was down.’ It’s that mantra being repeated and repeated,” said Cassidy. “There’s nothing here that says we’ve lost, but actually we thought of a new program or we found a better way of doing it and actually were able to provide a better service.”

During a council meeting in February, Cassidy took a similar tone against members of the transportation department when he and Councilwoman Pauline Cutter repeatedly questioned its determination for splitting a portion of East 14th Street into two lanes. Cutter, who received union support in her campaign for the council seat last November, also questioned whether city employees were running their departments efficiently.

The tough talk from the council newest members has added a new wrinkle of worry to many city employees who, like most workers are feeling the pinch of a the Great Recession. Further increasing the rising dysfunction at City Hall is the view Cassidy, who is a full-time attorney in San Francisco is rarely at the mayor’s office and largely unavailable to constituents with many complaining of unreturned phone calls and emails. To facilitate his busy schedule, many committee meetings have had drastic changes in schedule. The city’s finance committee meeting, which has met more regularly than under the previous mayor, now begins at 8:15 a.m.


I have this to say; "Big Bacalao". Who Cares? The Mayor's office is a part-time position. Santos and Young and Karp all made it "full-time" so they could milk the system. Cassidy has been in office 3 months. Not enough time to decide whether or not he's doing a lousy job. Give him until at least October.

I agree Manuel. He needs more time, but I have to admit I am not thrilled so far. I am absolutely not in favor of reducing our Polcie force at all, especially with what we face in increased burglaries and robberies, 5 more robberies this past week downtown - 4 were of people out and about during the daytime, robbed as they walked our lovely streets, all identified the perps as young black males. Great article on the mindset and violence we are up against in the ANG papers (Oakland Trib)and online by writer Scott Johnson today. Scary stuff.

Big Bacalao. I like that. It's like I'm dried, you soak me in water and I explode with flavor. One problem: I can't swim.

people all over the U.S. are getting laid off.. it's not all that shocking that san leandro is trying to do the same. but why is there so much concern for cops and meter maids when all of SL hospital will probably be laid off soon? I think that's slightly more tragic than a few cops getting they're pensions cut.

A caller on Brian Sussman's 560 KSFO morning show on Thursday blasted the San Leandro City government. He told the truth.


Oh, so if they agree with Manuel's extreme right-wing opinions, they're telling the truth--if they're opposed to his extremism, they must be lying?
That's why you lost by large margins when you ran for office under your real name Paul Vargas. It wasn't because we didn't know what your positions were--it was because we knew you were on the far far right of the political spectrum.

there is now a large pile of crap on mannnys head or should I say Paul HAHAHA!!!

Manny, Manuel, Paul ...is he the new Sybil???

dear paul,
just stop... please just stop. we know you're really Paul Vargas. please use your real name or post under anynomous. there's no reason to lie about your name

San Leandro is a good place to practice defensive racism - if you see a black male walk on the other side of the street. All you liberals who celebrate diversity - you be the good one and take your chance and walk on the same side of the street. When you eventually get mugged, you might have an epiphany...

if only san leandro could go back to the glory days before the 70's..... too bad it's now illegal for realators to not sell homes to minorities

Young black males that look like they come from the "hood" are scary in their appearance and body language...I wish it were not true but it is a reality and this socially liberal person will cross the street in that situation.

A lot of teenagers of all races dress and act that way. It's funny you singled out only "black" males. Also, the correct term is African-American. Socially liberal?--nice try!

Singling out black males isn't funny-statistically look at who commits the crimes. Who shot and killed four officers last year in Oakland? Who robbed and then killed a Chinese man after robbing him last year? Who opened a bakery in Oakland and then put a hit on a journalist?

"African-American" is stupid - it was created by shakedown artist and known adulterer-preacher Jesse Jackson. And besides, it's outdated - most negroes now prefer to be called "people of color" - even though they rejected "colored" a while back.

ok, corrected ghetto teens of all races, just happens most crime in SL is by Black males.

Racist comments all. The fact is San Leandro has less serious crime now with more diversity, than 30 years ago when the city was mostly Caucasian and less diverse. Check out the SL police departments statistics on serious crime over the last 30 years.

Don't try to confuse manuel and his ilk with facts.
The only fact these comments tell me is San Leandro(or at least white San Leandrans) might be more racist than 1968 when we made the cover of Time under the title the great white wall.
Cassidy had more than his share of white supremacist supporters
I feel safe walking anywhere in town and have had no problems. I have had stuff stolen out of my cars when I forgot to lock them but never had one broken on into.
I know Cassidy doesn't believe it but SL Police do a good job

Well aren't you special, you are obviously a delusional person. Crime has always been higher in SL due to its location next to Oakland, crime has fallen everywhere, less so here in SL. Does not matter what races live here, most crime is and always has been committed by Black/African American youth and then Hispanic youth whetehr from Oakland or here. Castro Valley and Alameda are both substantially lower in crime and Plesanton has 1/4 our crime rate. This is not a low crime town. Put your race card away and no, denial is not a good argument.

Mary-you're right about everything except Pleasanton's crime rate. For assault, it has about 1/20th the crime per capita as San Leandro. I don't feel safe at the San Leandro BART station in broad daylight.

Mary, if you want to convince people give us facts, not just you racist opinion. Here are some facts--Crime stats in SL for Part 1 serious crimes in 1980=5028. Crime stats for Part 1 serious crime in SL in 2010=3890. So the serious crime rate was 23% higher when SL was mostly white, than now when SL has a white minority and much more diversity. If you don't like SL with the diversity it has now, there is a simple solution--MOVE. SL would be much better without your prejudice. See you later--BYE

All the poor baboozes can't handle it when they're exposed on the radio. Truth hurts.

Truth certainly hurt you Manuel a.k.a. Paul Vargas. That's why we voted against you in large numbers--poor babooze.

The liberals in San Leandro think that diversity equals less crime. That's why Marin County and the Tri-Valley are such ceaspools for crime; and Oakland, San Leandro and Detroit are such great, safe places to live with great schools and high real estate values!

Reposting SL crime stats over and over does not make this a safe city, even with declining crime overall, it is still high and not even remotely safe when compared against the cities to our east. And who commits the majority of crimes is just a fact not racism. Nothing wrong with diversity, too bad our crimainal pool is not as diverses as our city is.

Can we lay off the infant blatter? People who have to hide behind "anonymous" take up very precious bandwidth on this site and quite frankly are getting old with thier broken record repetitions. If you don't have proof of your assertions then keep them off the board.


What are you talking about? Facts have been presented showing crime is down, but racists like Mary keep talking about black youths.
Quite frankly Mary should post anonymously because her racist comments are embarrassing.

Reality is not racism Frank. Ignorance is bliss though!

Mary is correct in her assessments. Violent crime, robbery, car thefts, are all up. If you think crime is down in this town you're on crack.

Those who say otherwise are the same idiots who think NoBama is doing a good job.

I liked when the caller to the KSFO show talked about the firemen playing basketball. Truth hurts.

The great Martin Luther King was assassinated 43 years ago today. He was in Memphis, helping the City's sanitary workers in their strike meant to gain a decent wage and respect. From his "I've Been To The Mountaintop" speech, the night before he was murdered:

"I would turn to the Almighty, and say, "If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I will be happy." Now that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. That's a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a way that men, in some strange way, are responding. Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee the cry is always the same: "We want to be free."

And another reason that I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we're going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demand didn't force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence....

And that's all this whole thing is about. We aren't engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people. We are saying that we are God's children. And that we don't have to live like we are forced to live.

Now, what does all of this mean in this great period of history? It means that we've got to stay together. We've got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh's court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that's the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.

Secondly, let us keep the issues where they are. The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. Now, we've got to keep attention on that."

Crime is down in this town--look it up. Truth hurts!

Proud San Leandran, thank you for the beautiful comment. I heard U2's "In the Name of Love" on the radio this afternoon and teared up. In my opinion, MLK is the greatest American of the 20th century.

No one said crime was not down here, it is down almost everywhere in the Bay Area. Robberies and burglaries are up 15% in SL and we still have 400% the crime rate of Pleasanton. Are you saying a "diverse" city like SL is supposed to suffer with more crime than than a more affluent city like Pleasanton and that it is ok for our citizens to be victims of criminals more often? Sounds racist and unfair to me.

That's because the idiots who defend the high crime in San Leandro are just fools.

San Leandro is between Oakland and Hayward, both high crime cities. Pleasanton is not. What we are saying is that when San Leandro was mostly white it had a higher crime rate. Now that San Leandro is mostly minority it has a lower crime rate. If you are racist and don't like San Leandro now-move.

Anyone care to address the MLK statement above? It gets us much closer to the subject of the article.

Stupid argument, its not the new "diversity" of the mostly Asian and Hispanic families coming in to SL that are committing the crimes. The African American population has gone up 1.8% in the past 10 plus years to a whopping 11.8% of the total population, but as a group African American's lead as the highest % of those committing crime in SL by far. Therefore it is not coming from SL's "diverse" population. Most criminals are from Oakland and it has always been that way in SL. Again its not racism, it is just a fact.

How is SL unfair to its civil servants?

You have no facts to back up your claims that most crime in San Leandro is committed by African-Americans. On the other hand, it has been explained with REAL CITY CRIME STATISTICS that crime has gone down sharply in recent years as diversity has gone up.

You have been notified of this many, many times on this comments thread. Your inability to respond to this very simple point leads me to believe that we are talking past each other. I believe this is because the various commenters' reflexive and disappointing racism requires them to lie to themselves and by extension, us.

Crime has gone down throughout California since the 1970's because of stronger laws such as 3 Strikes. For anyone to claim it's because of "diversity" is lying to themselves. San Leandro has an unacceptable level of car thefts, burglaries and armed robbery. To claim otherwise is disappointing liberalism and quite disengenous.

There are no facts to back up your crime is down because of 3 strikes claim. In fact there have been studies that say it does nothing, a criminal is a criminal, no one thinks of doing time, it is not an impediment.
I am also embarrassed that Frank, Mary and Manuel share a common heritage with me.
People who read this blog not all Portuguese are the racist cretins that Mary and Frank portray.

I hear from city staff that Cassidy is a bully. He talks down to staff and when he does not like an answer he gets all butt hurt about it. The guy has no people skills and his ego is getting the best of him. One term mayor.

That's because Santos, Young, Corbett, Faria, and Karp, all kissed City Staff's butt so they could milk the system.

Back in 1984 or 1985 Val Gill got a brand new silver Chrysler Fifth Avenue to drive around as his "official" car. Prior to that he was driving a dark blue LeBaron. Well, anyway, that crook Karp gets elected in 1986 and what does the SOB do with a car that's not even 24 months old? He immediately sends the damn thing to the body shop to have it detailed inside and out for him, scratches removed, dings fixed. C'mon, the thing was only a couple months old and that narcisstic bastard was wasting tax dollars to stroke his ego.

But that wasn't enough for old bulbous nose himself, the cry baby punk wanted a brand new car for himself, claiming that this Chrysler was a "lemon". So the City Council goes and buys him a brand new white Buick Park Avenue. So don't go around saying that Cassidy is bully, you don't know what goes on in this town.


Mr. Almeida, and just what did I post that is "allegedly" racist and so offended your delicate sensibilities?

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